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How to boost ease of doing business in Nigeria, by stakeholders

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Stakeholders in the nation’s maritime sector have identified insecurity on the waterways, poor access roads to the nation’s ports as some of the factors affecting the ease of doing business in the country.

They also bemoaned high shipping duty charges, unsustainable polices, lack of national carrier as responsible for the low contribution of the maritime industry to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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The stakeholders expressed their disappointment at the underdevelopment in the maritime industry as the nation marked its 60th independence anniversary, lamenting that it was unfortunate that Nigeria had refused to embrace growth, while other countries like Togo, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire have developed massively and contributing to their GDPs.

On insecurity, immediate past President of the Merchant Navy Senior Staff Association, Matthew Alalade, lamented the consistent attacks on vessels by pirates on the high sea, adding that the development has exposed Nigeria’s weakness and could deter foreign investors from doing businesses in the country.

“We hear that within two weeks, pirates attack vessels or stop their operation, which should not be. No investor brings his business or ship into Nigeria when the security is not tight, which is why foreign investors tend to stop at Togo and Ghana whose economies are booming at Nigeria’s expense,” he said.

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Also speaking, National President, Association of Nigeria License Customs Agent, Iju Tony Nwabunike, said although there had been some progress in the maritime sector, “Policy implementation has been the major problem, in the sense that the Federal Government will formulate one policy now and replace it immediately or revert to an older one, so the country keeps going round in circles in terms of policies.”

Former President National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders NAGAFF, Eugene Nweke lamented on the lack of a national carrier and vessels in the country, which he said, had diminished the nation’s pride.

He noted that while that had created more unemployment for the people, the maritime industry was supposed to be contributing better to the country’s GDP, but was not doing so currently.

Also, President National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents, Lucky Amiwero, rated Nigeria’s maritime industry as one of the worst globally owing to the different issues that had bedeviled the sector, which the country was yet to rectify, stressing, “Nigeria continues to face traffic gridlock due to poor access roads to the ports, which continues to adversely affect businesses.”

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